Making Your Cesarean a Positive Birth
A lot of us have serious plans for how we want our birth sessions to go. I’m one of those women who wanted a home water birth with a doula, a midwife, my hubs, and candles. After suffering from an 18-week loss and having a myomectomy to remove 7 fibroids – my dreams of a vaginal birth were almost non-existent. I consulted 3 different doctors before giving up on my natural birth. Honestly, I mourned that a little. I felt defeated and not in control of my own birth story. I didn’t want to be one of those moms who gave up on having a natural birth just because a doctor told me no. However, I also had to realize that for my safety and the safety of a baby I’d (hopefully) one day be carrying – a high intervention pregnancy and a hospital cesarean would be my reality.
So let’s talk a little about Trixie. Who is Trixie you ask? She’s my uterus. She doesn’t play fair. She’s irritable and impatient. She’s a Tricky B who likes to skip Braxton Hicks contractions, opts for real contractions at 16 weeks and slides into full blown labor by 18 weeks. Considering babies aren’t full term until 36 weeks – you can see why Trixie is a problem. In order to keep a handle on her – I start weekly progesterone shots at week 16 and get them until week 36. Yes, I go to the doctor and get a shot in my hip every week for 20 weeks. Also – because of my myomectomy being considered a uterine surgery quite like a cesarean section… it counts as my first. I’ve had a myomectomy and two subsequent cesarean sections to birth two amazing babies, so my doc doesn’t want me to go into active labor because the risk of uterine rupture is real. Trixie kinda has me in a pregnancy headlock.
I spent a lot of time before my son’s birth trying to find ways to make my cesarean feel as natural as possible. I wanted to feel as empowered as I possibly could. I wanted my baby to enter as peaceful of an environment as my doctor and the hospital would allow. Now, there are some things that my hospital’s legal department wouldn’t budge on. I decided they weren’t deal breakers but for some mamas, they may be. Be proactive, find out what your doctor is cool with. Some doctors just need to be presented with your wishes and others need a little convincing, especially if it’s something they’ve never heard of or had requested before.
Here is my sample birth plan:
Baby Amen-Ra’s Birth Plan
We are trying to make a cesarean delivery as special and intimate as possible for us even though we will not have the desired vaginal birth.
DURING DELIVERY / RECOVERY – In the event a general anesthesia needs to be performed, I understand that some of my requests cannot be honored.
- I would like to play music in the OR if it won’t be a distraction to those performing surgery.
- Explain all medications that will be used to me. I prefer a bolus and oral medications versus a PCA afterward.
- I would like for my husband (partner/family member) and baby to stay in the OR with me while surgery is completed and remain in recovery with me.
- I would like to take photos and video of the birth of my baby. I respect that the surgeon and anesthesiologist may not want the entire surgery on video, however, I would like a record of my baby being born to make it as special and personal as possible.
- Request my arms not be strapped down so I may touch my baby freely.
- I would like my baby placed skin to skin on my chest immediately after basic assessments while in the OR. My husband (partner/family member can hold baby there with a warm blanket over my baby.
- In the event of a hysterectomy, please do not remove my ovaries or anything else that isn’t medically necessary.
- I would like to breastfeed my baby as soon as possible in recovery.
- In the event the baby requires medical attention beyond that of a healthy baby, please inform me (husband/partner/family member) verbally what is needed or will be needed so I can actively participate in choices made for my baby’s care.
- Request my baby not be bathed or fully dressed until I have the opportunity to smell, touch, cuddle, etc. with my baby and I am able to participate in the bathing.
- Delaying immunizations, even eye ointment, and vitamin K.
- I plan to breastfeed exclusively, so no pacifier, formula, sugar water should be given to my baby.
- No tests shall be performed or medications administered, etc. without my (husband/partner/family member) consent & prior knowledge.
I encourage you to make a list of all of your birth related desires, talk them out with your doctor and make edits before your big day. Having a cesarean section does not make you less of a mother than a mother who has a vaginal birth. It’s a different type of birth. For many mamas and babies – it is the only SAFE way to get a baby here. If you know you’ll have a cesarean- there is nothing wrong with having a plan. Note: Emergency cesarean sections are completely different and often docs can’t accommodate your birth plan. Don’t be discouraged – a healthy baby and a healthy mama are all that matters.
There are quite a few websites that offer mock birth plans that you can edit and a few that include “natural-minded” cesarean birth plans.
Good luck MAMAS! May your births be amazing.